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Sharlene Penman (piano), visiting from New Zealand, is the band leader for the 2019 Tea Dance.
Our fiddlers are Jenny Evans and Amy Beshara.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

23 February 2017 – New York Branch

Why New York on Thursday and not Westchester on Wednesday? Because Miss C., currently teaching the NY Branch Experienced class, and I did a one time swap.

Format at the NYB is decidedly different and more difficult. There are severe time constraints, only two and a half hours for the entire evening and that includes warmup and tea time.

7:30 - 7:45   Warmup for all

                  Classes split

7:45 - 8:45 Experienced/Basics classes meet

8:45 - 9:00 Tea

9:00 - 9:50  Combined Social (we need to be out by 10:00).

There is no time to  fumble in the teaching - it has to be clean and correct.

Dances of the night:-
The Ferryboat  –  (32 J n circle mixer)  –  Let's All Dance

Experienced Class:
Chased Lovers  –  (32 J 3)  –  World Wide Weavings
Karin's Strathspey  –  (32 S 3)  –  3rd Graded Bk
Saltire Society Reel  –  (32 R 3)  –  L28/Goldring

Social Class:
Machine Without Horses  –  (32 J 3)  –  Bk 12/12
Rakes of Glasgow  –  (32 S 3)  –  Bk 11/11
EH3 7AF  –  (32 J 3)  –  Bk 40/6
Davy Nick Nack  –  (32 H 3)  –  Glasgow Assembly

* * * * * * * * * *

The Ferryboat:- A very simple circle dance and enough to almost loosen up muscles and minds. Otherwise, for those not geographically challenged, tedious if on a steady diet of the dance. That was the combined opening warmup.

Experienced Class:-

Chased Lovers:- By Tim Wilson and it is a Gem!!  (Just included in my Top 50 Jigs - that makes 54)

The two diagonal reels of 3 are a delight. Individually they are in tandem, but there is a lead change between them that, IMHO, make the dance. They start out the ends - the 1st reel out the top Lsh to 2M, the 2nd reel out the bottom Rsh to 3M and between the two there is a transitional moment, Rsh back together to change from facing up to facing down. Nice! A covering moment missed by all too many dancers.

Corners Pass & Turn - How do you get corners to dance ALL four bars? Why don't they? Sheesh! Do I sound frustrated, and maybe a wee bit upset?  No? Then you aren't listening! I sincerely wish you better success at this than I've had. … … I am smiling, thinking about waltzing with some of these dancers and only dancing three steps out of four....  I mean, that is what the 3/4 means, isn't it?  :-))

Karin's Strathspey:-  It was… interesting shall I say, to watch the Newcastle Festival video of this dance and compare their interpretation to what the instructions actually say.

On the video I saw was a clear separation of dancers - all dropping hands after the turns and dancing out to position, corners ending home and 1s in the middle or on sides, and then all raising hands as they dance into the circles.

Very pretty. But that is not what I read.

9-12      1st couple set to first corners (who also set) advancing to finish back to back. They turn their  first corners with both hands almost once round.

13-16    Opening out, 1st couple lead their corners into four hands once round to their left. 1st man finishes between 3rd couple and 1st woman between 2nd couple, facing each other.

That from Derek Haynes' Carnforth Collection and it is very clear - between the turns and the circles you keep hands joined!

This from RSCDS:
9-12      1st couple and first corners set, 1st couple advancing to finish back to back. 1st couple and first corners, giving both hands, turn.

13-16    1st couple lead corners into four hands once round to the left. 1st woman finishes between 2nd couple facing down and 1st man between 3rd couple facing up.

Not as clear. The word 'lead' suggests that hands are still joined but by not including the words "opening out" whether or not you DO keep hands joined is open to interpretation. The performance team at Newcastle chose not to keep hands joined. Since that is the only video (http://my.strathspey.org/dd/dance/3397/) it demonstrates the dance wrongly. Oops.

Saltire Society Reel:- This one bears repeat teaching.

There is one subtle point that I didn't get across.
Corners got the set for 4 bars, advancing on the 3rd and 4th into hands across. The corners got that they leave the hands across and dance out to place. The 1C got that the hands across only goes for 3 bars because once the corners leave they can stop dancing. Riiight! Again the 3 out of 4 syndrome, only in a new application of the theory.

So in a profound revelation I have concluded that a new emphasis is required - I have to stress that in the hands across 1C have use all four allotted bars of music and to keep going until they face 2nd corners!

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